7 Secret Cheap Steak Cuts You Should Be Asking For

Summertime is steak time. That is, unless you can’t afford a steak.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get some good quality beef. While not all of the cheaper cuts grill up well all by themselves, most of them do with a bit of extra preparation, and the others taste great as part of a kebab or in other favorite dishes.

Bon appetit!

1. Flat Iron Steak

The flat iron steak, or the chicken steak, is seriously a hidden gem. It’s got the tenderness of the much more expensive filet, but because no one has ever heard of it, it’s a lot cheaper. Cook it exactly like you would cook your favorite tender cut of meat — usually on the grill or by pan frying it. (And if you’ve never pan fried before, this steak recipe would be a great place to start.)

2. Shoulder Steak

The shoulder steak, also called the London Broil, is what you need to get if you love it when the flavor of beef is almost overwhelming. Because this is a larger piece of meat, it can be roasted, though it is also tasty when you cook it on the grill. Then, slice it into thin pieces and you can feed the whole crowd. Or, you can pan fry it, and even add that barbeque flavor.

3. Chuck Eye Steak

The chuck eye steak is kind of like a rib eye, for a good reason: It is the cut nearest the rib eye on the animal. So while it costs significantly less, it retains many of the characteristics you love about the more expensive cut of meat. This is a very flexible hunk of meat: you can do anything from cooking it like a roast to grilling it. Just don’t cook it all the way to well done! If you don’t have access to a grill, chuck eye can be pan fried, too.

4. Flank Steak

Flank steak is tasty, but it’s also tough. Luckily for us, there are ways to get around that. Braise it, grill it, or marinate it. Keep in mind, though, that marinating it won’t make it tender. If you use a dry method of cooking, like grilling, be sure to use high heat, only keep it on the grill for a short time, and cut it against the grain. This looks like an amazing marinade to use with that method!

5. Tip Sirloin

Tip sirloin (or sirloin tip) is another name for flap meat (which has got to be one of the most unfortunate names out there for a cut of steak!). If you cook it carefully, it has a fabulous steaky taste, is tender and juicy, and goes great with a bunch of different marinades. You can do pretty much anything you want with it: Make it into kebabs, braise it slowly, or grill it for that steakhouse taste.

6. Chuck Arm Steak

If you’re looking for cheaper beef, look no farther than something labeled “chuck.” This particular cut can come out tough and fatty, but it’s wonderful when cooked in a way that will keep it moist. This usually means that you braise it. Afterwards, you can pull it apart, slice it and serve, or use it in a soup or stew.

7. Brisket

A brisket is an incredibly tough cut of meat, which means it doesn’t usually work well on a grill. But that makes it perfect for cooking slowly, and especially for true BBQ. If you have access to a smoker, that’s the best way to go when cooking brisket. But you can oven roast or braise brisket as well. As long as the meat has time to get tender and gain flavor, there’s no reason to buy a more expensive cut.

A Note on Tenderizing

You might have noticed that many of the cheaper cuts of meat don’t always reach the same levels of tenderness that most of us like our beef to have. There’s a way around that, though: kosher salt. Salt the steak and then, for every inch of steak, let it sit for an hour. After that, rinse off any excess salt and cook it however you want. Basically, the salt helps the steak hold onto moisture in such a way that it actually becomes more tender, which is good by me!

What is your favorite cheap, fabulous cut of meat? And the recipe you use the most?

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